Mixing interviews with key women musicians and live performance footage, WOMEN WHO ROCK features the stories of trailblazers like Bessie Smith, Ma Raney, Mother Maybelle and Mahalia Jackson as well as contemporary stars Darlene Love, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Bonnie Raitt, Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, Mavis Staples, Deborah Harry and Kathleen Hanna of the bands Bikini Kill and Le Tigre. Also featured are songwriter Cynthia Weill and journalists/critics Ann Powers, Nelson George and Holly George Warren.
Cyndi Lauper, with nearly 30 years as a music icon and worldwide record sales of 30 million, will host the program. Lauper, who appears in the film, won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist for her first album, She’s So Unusual, which spawned five top-ten singles. She’s been nominated for more than 40 Grammy, Emmy, American Music, American Video and MTV awards. In June 2010, she released her 11th studio album, the Grammy nominated Memphis Blues, which sat atop the Billboard Blues Chart for 14 consecutive weeks. Lauper will release the DVD From Memphis with Love on October 25 and her long-awaited autobiography in 2012, along with a new reality show. Lauper is completing work on writing the music for the Broadway show Kinky Boots, and continues her philanthropic work through her foundation, the True Colors Fund.
The program breaks the female influence on rock and roll into distinct eras, starting with the music’s blues roots in the 1920s and 30s. It travels forward through time, telling stories of key musicians from each succeeding era, including rock and roll’s emergence in the 1950s, the girl group and counterculture era of the 60s, disco and punk in the 70s, celebrations of empowerment and fun throughout the 80s, into today’s predominance of women in pop, and much more. The film reveals the ever-morphing role of female performers, and shows how today’s singers were influenced and inspired by their forebears.
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